Damned if I do and damned if I don’t

In my lackadaisical, insouciant fashion, I scanned a few posts on praise which praised praise for its beneficial effects on people, who generally seemed starved for praise and insistent on its compulsory deployment. This tweaked my contrariness.

Praise includes articulation, adulation, comments and acts that demonstrate admiration and approval of conduct. The tone of delivery is the most important.

Young children are positively reinforced by praise for almost any action they perform that has not been forbidden. It frequently becomes an expectation and so its worth becomes diluted by inappropriate use.

It takes a brave husband to fail to praise a new dress or hairstyle.

Where does that leave honest reaction and informed opinion?

I agree that they should be framed gently and considerately and attempt should be made to express some positive feelings. The need for encouragement and support in motivating others is paramount – that is not necessarily praise.

The English have a technique which can express a lack of real admiration which they call damning with faint praise which can be quite effective if the object thereof is reasonably astute. Therein lies the rub, because many people have become conditioned to unstinting praise and allergic to criticism.

The religious unconditionally praise deities, which appear to be affirmations of their faith. Is this from where unconditional praise stems?

Maybe so – all I am saying is that praise should always be measured and considered so that it is always true and appropriate and not just a sop to meet the expectations of the over-indulged.











Spring scent memories

The anise scent of yellowMimosa distracted me.

It was brought by the springwind which whispered memories

of the shimmering sishing Msasa leaves in Africa.

So soft and beautiful, they hide the horrors of the Gukurahundi

“the rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”

but not the blood on the hands of the tyrant.

Married at First Sight

I rejoice because I have a follower! She was Shanghaied, however, she is now headed for Madeira, so all seems well.

Elsie wrote a blog  called “Creating Ignorance” based on Orwell’s revolutionary works. I blathered a comment about whether propaganda had any worth and asking if  today’s media were not propagandists in their own cause. This subject gets me to a near rant state.

I abhor the apparent manipulation of the masses by the media. For example, the fact that television producers, editors and owners see fit to create a programme like “Married at First Sight” is disgusting. It is destructive of a fundamental pillar of society as we know it. What is the value of such a series to society? The fact that it garners millions of viewers which generate huge revenue is surely only evidence of the depravity of those viewers, so easily manipulated by the media.

Now that I have insulted the intelligence of millions, I better change direction…

The local government elections in South Africa, my sub-continent of origin is of interest. Those of us who chose to leave, retain high interest and many links and concerns with the apparent failures of the fledgling democracy. But the current focus on Brazilian ineptitudes and insecurities as it stages the Olympics, give some comparative perspective. One hopes that the emergence of strong opposition to the governing party will not bring about violence as it did in the past.

I see the problem in my writings: it is a lack of focus on a pre-selected direction. I am too easily distracted by butterfly thoughts and wander away from the original path.

Well, I suppose that is what quirks and whimsy are all about.

Enjoy the Olympics: it is hopefully a reasonably honest trial of athletic strengths of the finest athletes in the world … (you see! There I go again).



I recall a blog I wrote 10 years ago in reaction to advertisements which appeared on my page and which seemed to relate to the contents of the blog. Well, I suppose that’s old hat nowadays – that’s how social media marketing works.

That blogblurt was quite innocuous; although the title contained the words “weapons” and “campaign” and it did mention that the Man could be foolish. On my next visit to the site, I noticed an ad tag in the header: “Conservative Politics”.
Now, I had only one blog friend then, who hadn’t had a blog in months.   

Why and how was I so identified?
My conclusion is that it was done by machine, which I resent.

Politics are matters of the heart as much as the head. I do not believe that the intent of the intertwining recipe of intellect and emotion can be discerned by machine.

I cannot deny the utilitarian value of stereotypes; but I can resent it.
(Tough tofu, you word weed wimp – you are what you are labelled; machines don’t recognise slimy grovels… do they?)

Soo, check my tags out next week, let’s see if I garner any more Big Bro interest and labels.

Get off my back, Jack – political values change, like people; tolerance is elastic and the centre moves!
I am unique & and reject your label.
Wow! I am so radical…yeah right!



Wind up

I’m just a little tin soldier in your hand
I’m good for nothing, but to obey your commands
You’ll never really love me, I know
So wind me up, let me go     

Cliff Richard sang this love song in 1969.

The bit about  wind me up led me to think about the tragedies that we are seeing almost daily – young people being wound up by radicals and let go to sow death and destruction, hate and sorrow, fear and rage….

Words are as lethal as swords especially uttered by people of influence.

Dear me! Is this turning into an argument for censorship? We are already seeing the peopleswing to the right in many countries, in response to the horrors of self proclaimed Islamic extremists attacking any and every vulnerable target. Even the Pope is talking about it as a war!

Many fears, concerns and criticisms of Trump and Brexit have been expressed; some condemnations in extreme terms. The supporters of those reviled phenomena represent a potential majority of the  electorates in UK and US.

So if you get wound up, try to make your expressions reasonable and free of incitement to violence and gratuitous insult.

Birds in our Queensland garden

We live in the Redland shire, adjacent to Brisbane City, about 2 miles from the coast. We have just over 800 sq. m with 2 large jacaranda trees, a syringa, I think, some small as yet unidentified local trees, 2 large Delicious Monsters, 2 pawpaw paw trees and smaller shrubs, flowers and half a large granadilla vine. There is also a resident carpet python of over 2m in length, who we have not met, but know of him as he left us his old skin! Further evidence of his presence is the occasional heap of feathers, usually belonging to a dove.
I take great joy in watching the birds, who may well be fair weather friends. We  feed them daily with seed cakes and pieces of bread; strangely sought out by the honey eaters, as well as magpies and others.
This is the Australian Dove who feeds and is food in our garden!   

The Australian Pelican flies over occasionally – we love to see them on the water

The Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike is a shy visitor, who seems to just sit and watch

We have a family of Blue-faced Honeyeaters who are very noisy and quite nasty to a youngster who still has yellow eyes.

This is the juvenile Blue-faced Honey eater, waiting for a chance to have a nibble.

The Blue Indian Ringnecked Lovebird is an exotic escapee, who loves the seed we put out. Very pretty and quite tame; tolerated by the other birds so long as he is polite.

Galahs are common and are the Australian idiom for stupidity – they are a very pretty combination of pink & grey.

The Pheasant Coucal is a fierce bird – we saw one chase a Goanna (monitor lizard, like a leguaan) on Stradbroke island. It is the cousin of the Burchells Coucal (Reenvoel) in Africa

The Butcher Birds have loud trilling calls and whistles with an occasional cuckoo, cuckoo! There was a youngster about who used to take food from the hand, but was chased off by a dominant adult pair

The Crested Pigeon, which we call the kuifie duifie, lives here and struts and displays to just about anyone.

Crows patrol and hang around – some hate their noise, but we love

Figbirds love the syringa berries  

Indian Mynas are about, but not nearly as bossy as their African family.

Kookaburras pass through, staying for a day or 2, then move off

  Little Corellas fly over in flocks making harsh shrieks

Magpie Larks are sweet looking, tough individuals, who other birds don’t mess with. They patrol the lawn for snacks.

Magpies really do sing for their supper. If there is no bread in the basket or we are a bit late in the morning, they start shrieking and crooning in unison – quite entertaining. They are quite tame and come and sit on chair backs across the table from me, when I am eating on the verandah! We are very fond of them.
Noisy friarbirds are aptly named – they devour banksia flowers and shriekcroak their delight to all and sundry. 

The Noisy Miner birds visit in flocks to check out the scene but don’t linger – too much competition for food from bigger birds.
The Olive-backed Oriole is another lover of syringa berries. 

 A pair of Pale-headed Rosellas live in the neighbourhood and visit every now and then
Rainbow Lorikiets are nearly always there and are noisy and aggressive – only moving for crows and magpies. Amazing colours. 

The Spangled Drongo is a pretty bird with a sweet call – not as piercing as the early morning call of its African forktailed cousin.

The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is one of the most common birds about and frequently fly over, shrieking harshly.

 Willie Wagtail is a pretty bird, not quite as delicate and captivating as his kiwi cousin.

The other visitor we have flies in at night  but is not a bird. Flying Foxes are quite numerous and in some areas near roosts, fly over in thousands just after dark. They patrol at low height seeking fruit trees and make quite a noise when they squabble over fruit.


A very elegant wife of an advocate objected strenuously to a $15 fine for failing to stop at a stop sign. She was represented per amici by a colleague advocate, who rolled his eyes but called her to give evidence.

The woman agreed she had not stopped completely but had slowed right down and checked carefully to see that the way was clear.

She argued that she had complied with the spirit of the law and felt she should not be penalised. I disagreed.

A magistrate could not allow autonomy in selection of which laws to comply with and the choice of when it was suitable to do so.

I confirmed the fine, regretting that I could not treble it to shake her blinkered views. She was incensed and wanted to appeal.

(extract from “A Rough Justice – Reminiscensces of a Rhodesian Magistrate”)

I suppose she was unstoppable..?